Russian Airlines Develop a Super Sniffing Dog Breed!

July 12, 2010

There cannot be too many airlines in the world which dabble in dog breeding. Well, the Russian Aeroflot Airlines has its very own dog breeding centre, and a new dog breed has been developed by them for the sole purpose of having a drug and bomb-sniffing hound at the Moscow Airport.

So what is this new breed like? They are a unique breed – a cross between a Siberian Husky and a Turkmen Jackal. Before you lift your eyebrows in shock, it is worth mentioning that this rather unique combination took 27 years to perfect and the result is amazing! The Russian Aeroflot claims it has managed to produce the world’s greatest sniffer dog, by combining the genes of a Husky with a Jackal. Their breeders claim that they are much more effective than the Labradors or German Shepherds that are more commonly used in the West.

At first sight, they look much like a normal Husky, although they are a bit smaller and have a Jackal’s thick black whiskers. The Husky and Turkmen Jackal were picked for the breeding project because of their extremely keen noses. The former has evolved to sniff out the faintest odors in Arctic conditions when the deep cold suppresses smells, while the jackal has a nose more sensitive than its cousin, the domestic dog. Siberian Huskies are known for their obedience, while pure Jackals make poor working dogs.

Category: Dog Stories

Why do dogs (and other animals) eat poop?

July 12, 2010

Many animals eat poop on a regular basis. These include rabbits, rodents, gorillas, many insects such as dung beetles and flies, and yes…even dogs. (Keep that in mind the next time a dog wants to lick you!) Herbivores such as rabbits and rodents eat their own poop because their diet of plants is hard to digest efficiently, and they have to make two passes at it to get everything out of the meal. This is equivalent to a cow chewing its cud, only cows are able to re-eat their food without having to poop it out first. Another reason why animals eat poop is that poop contains vitamins produced by their intestinal bacteria. The animal is unable to absorb the vitamins through the intestinal wall, but can get at them by eating the poop. Poop also contains a certain amount of protein.

A dog’s guts have a powerful immune response to bacteria. The modern dog’s diet can be so sterile that they may even seek out bacteria in order to address the balance and keep their immune system working effectively. So, it is important to point out that your dog will not suffer many ill effects as a result of eating poop; at least not in the way that humans would. Dogs are particularly fond of cat poop because cat poop is high in protein. So don’t be surprised – as an owner of a cat and a dog – if you never have to clean the kitty litter!

Category: Dog Facts

Siberian Huskies as Guide Dogs!

July 12, 2010

The beauty of a Siberian Husky has captured the hearts of many dog lovers. Those light eyes, and dense coats make them winners any way you look at it. Belonging to the Spitz group, one would never think of them as guard dogs. While leaving those tasks to the Mastiffs, it is undeniable that there is a strong working backbone in the history of the Siberian Husky as well. Having herded Reindeer for over 3000 years, while surviving the harshest of Siberian winters, this is a hardy breed. It is thus not surprising that they are one of the healthiest of dog breeds as well. Over time, the Siberian Husky has developed a strong sense of gentleness and devotion, that makes them loved even more. The Inuit tribes who used this breed for utilitarian and survival needs trained them to pull heavy sledges for great distances over frozen tundra. They are definite survivors.

So with this strong sense of devotion, hardy nature, intelligence and trainability, why can’t they excel at being guide dogs as well? Well they can indeed! Euro Puppy is not new to guide dogs, since we ourselves proudly offer fully-trained Labradors as guide dogs. So it was only natural for us to find it fascinating to think of training a Siberian Husky puppy to be a guide dog as well. We all know Labradors make great guide dogs. That is an undeniable fact. But what traits do Siberian Huskies have, that make them ideal guide dogs and assistance dogs as well?

Siberian Husky Guide Dog

Well, for one, Siberian Huskies are good with children and it is an important factor when considering having a dog that meets people along the way and is not aggressive or intimidating. They fair well in extreme weather, and this makes them ideal guide dogs for vision-impaired people living in colder climates- like Canada- where Labradors, would just get too cold. Their boundless energy means that they can carry on with tasks untiringly. The fact that they are a healthy breed makes it also ideal. Their hardiness is an important factor, when one thinks of investing in a dog, for many years to come. What about size? Well, Huskies are the right size to fit into tight places, like under tables and are ideal for public transportation as well; sitting next to their owners, when the need arises.

On top of this; Siberian Huskies are extremely intelligent and independent as well, which are both qualities you need in a guide or service dog. According to Kim, a Siberian Husky owner and guide dog trainer: “They need to be able to make up their own minds and be able to learn difficult things like “intelligent disobedience” where if the handler gives the dog a command and it would be dangerous to do it, the dog disobeys. I kept reading about how “stubborn” huskies are, but whenever I read that I was thinking “it’s perfect”! I’m not looking for a dog that will do everything I say without thinking about it!”

Kim is a proud owner of Keisha: a black and white Siberian Husky that is growing into a grand representative of this awesome breed. Led by Kim’s persistent hand and loving voice, Keisha is already mastering commands and will take on learning and mastering guiding tasks and service tasks as well. At Euro Puppy, we will keenly watch the developments of Keisha, who interestingly enough has a name that doesn’t differ much from the other (lesser-) known name for a Siberian Husky: Keshia.

Keisha, the Siberian Husky

German Shepherd Dogs and Schutzhund:

July 12, 2010

Any serious dog lover is at home with the term “Schutzhund”. But those dog lovers who are proud owners or fans of the German Shepherd Dog can vouch for the fact that Schutzhund is an imperative part of dog training and socialization.

Schutzhund, which is a German term meaning: “protection dog”, tests a dog’s desire to work, his courage, his intelligence, his trainability, his bond to the handler, his perseverance and his protective instincts. Dogs that pass Schutzhund tests should be suitable for police work, specific odor detection, search and rescue, and many other tasks. The purpose of Schutzhund is undeniable when used with German Shepherd Dogs, since it also identifies those representatives of the breed that have the perfect character traits required for these demanding jobs.

It is not surprising that police worldwide use Schutzhund with German Shepherd Dogs, to see if the dogs they have chosen can excel at these very demanding tasks. Interestingly enough, most police departments do not allow their working dogs to breed. This is also true of many other organizations that use working dogs. The breeding stock for these working dogs is Schutzhund dogs. Without Schutzhund, the working ability of German Shepherd Dogs and other working breeds would quickly deteriorate and it would be difficult to find suitable dogs for police work, bomb detection, or search and rescue.

Category: Dog Socialization

What Everyone Ought To Know About The Dog That Cannot Bark…

July 12, 2010

There must have been times in your life when you had wished that your dog would just stop barking! Or maybe the neighbors have threatened to go to the police, if Fido carries on without a break. Well if you are one of those people, who loves dogs, but cannot stand the barking, there is hope! Have you ever heard of the “Dog that doesn’t bark?”…Or more commonly known as the Basenji?

This amazing dog comes from Central Africa, and while civilizations were only starting to blossom, this dog was already established as a known breed! With a gazelle-like sleekness, an almost feline grace; and a movement that resembles more of a trotting horse, than a slumbering canine – the Basenji truly is a unique breed. They clean themselves like a cat; they have no doggy-odor and most interestingly: the Basenji cannot bark. They can howl like a wolf…they can yodel playfully…and they can scream when in pain…yet they cannot bark. Although they have the same vocal cords as other canines, it is believed that they truly are the representative breed of the cradle of canines, since dogs of the past, had little barking abilities as well. Autopsy results have shown that the breed has a very shallow Larynx compared to all other breeds; thus preventing them from normal woof woof! Their extremely high intelligence – that can be easily spotted from any photograph- with their keen eyes sparkling knowingly- means that they are not as easily trainable as other dogs, but they remain loyal, devoted and extremely friendly dogs, that do not fair well, when left alone.

As far back as Ancient Egypt, the Basenji stood proudly next to Egyptian royalty and adopted the noble and aristocratic bearing of their owners as well. Native Africans have used the Basenji for hunting as well and only in 1895, did this breed become known outside of its native Congo. Also known as the the Congo Terrier, the Basenji breed was first established in 1939, in England. While the World Wars did nothing to perpetuate this awesome breed, conscientious breeders have done their job and are still doing their job in keeping this breed alive and well. These breeders and lovers of the Basenji can be found all over the world today- even as far as Australia. This is a medium-sized dog and males reach a height of 17in (40.5cm) while females reach a height of 16in (38cm). The ideal weight of males is 24lbs (11kg) and 22lbs (10kg) for females.

So while more and more breeds come to be established in today’s world, where hybrid dogs are (sadly) the norm, one should take a moment and bow in respect to this ancient dog breed that is often referred to as the “barkless dog”, and

Category: Dog Facts

Can Ear Cropping and Tail Docking of Dogs Be Compared To Breast Implants in Humans?

July 12, 2010

Tell me…do women look better with breast implants? You are probably thinking “what the hell does silicone have to do with dogs?” Not much, I agree, but as an analogy, it is striking. Today I was walking in a shopping mall and saw a woman with “fake boobs”. My train of thought steamed ahead of me and I found myself thinking: “Hey! This is much like cropping a dog’s ears or docking its tail! So….I would like to talk about docking and cropping. (At the end, feel free to answer my initial question, if you feel like it, of course)

Much like with silicone implants, tail docking and ear cropping have been met by a lot of opposition. The tradition first originates from selecting breeding practices and it is seen as cosmetic modification of that which is God-given.

So let me start by explaining what ear cropping is. At about age 9-13 weeks, puppies go under the knife and their whole look changes. While the puppy is anesthetized the outside edge of the puppy’s ears are cropped. The cuts are sutured closed and the ears are placed in a rack so that they stand up, while they heal. Breeds that undergo this procedure include the American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Schnauzer, Boxer, Great Dane, and Doberman Pinscher. Cropping was originally done on fighting dogs…to decrease their chances of having an injured ear. On hunting dogs it was also done, but in this case it was done, so that they wouldn’t get tangled in the bushes. Now the main question arises: Is it good to have this procedure done? Well, I have to be honest with you; I like the look of a hardcore Great Dane with cropped ears….or the sleek look of a Doberman with cropped ears. But…- and yes, there is always a but – ….Cropping is no longer necessary. Dog fights have been banned and working dogs have become more family dogs.

cropped ears versus uncropped ears in dogs

Tail docking on the other hand, is a procedure that is done when the puppy is only days old.

Category: Dog Care

Canine Genetics May Help Cure Human Cancer, Diabetes and Epilepsy..

July 12, 2010

Have you ever thought that dogs have a lot in common with humans? Well, if you answered yes to that question, you may not be too far off. We may be more like dogs than we think! Why are some dogs great at chasing balls while others are predisposed to lying on your lap? The answer to dog differences is hidden in specific sequences of DNA.

Molecular biologists have now completely and successfully sequenced the first dog genome. A genome is the complete blueprint of an organism’s DNA molecule sequence. By having a complete map of dog genes we are able to explain what gives dogs their unique set of traits, behaviors, and diseases, and strangely enough it may also help identify human diseases as well! How, you ask?? Well, by understanding how genetics play a role in canine diseases, it could help us humans to devise new treatments for diseases shared by humans. Diseases shared by dogs and humans include Cancer, Diabetes and Epilepsy.

A standard poodle, named Shadow, was the first dog to have its genes mapped, but it was only about 80-percent complete. For the first time, molecular biologists have now completely mapped out the genes of a Boxer. “The Boxer genome will help us find the genes responsible for diseases and traits in dogs, and also understand human Cancer, Epilepsy and Diabetes as well. In dogs, only one gene mutation can cause a disease, and that same mutated gene causes an identical disease in humans.” says Ewen Kirkness, a molecular biologist at The Institute for Genomic Research in Rockville, Md.

Soon, top quality breeders may also be able to check the purity of pedigrees, while limiting the entry of mutations into future generations. Having a genetic map may also mean owners of pure-bred dogs and mutts may soon be able to document which breeds their dogs come from by simply sending a cheek swab or blood sample to a genetics lab!

Category: Dog Stories

Women, Dogs, and Spiritual Beliefs…

July 12, 2010

There is a very strange custom found in Central India, among certain of the Gond people. According to the ritual it is acceptable for a human being to marry a dog. The Gond are aboriginal tribes, that still speak a fairly simplified set of unwritten languages. Their lifestyle, while not truly nomadic, tends not to have permanent settlements. Their villages are periodically moved to various sites on land which is owned by the whole clan. Their beliefs place them totally outside of the Hindu caste system. They do not acknowledge the superiority of Brahmans and don’t feel bound by many Hindu rules.

Their style of agriculture is quite simple and traditional, which basically involves slash-and-burn operations. So how does the marriage between humans and dogs play a role in this? Well, because they continually clear wild land, the Gond often encounter wild animals, and these encounters can be fatal to humans armed only with digging sticks. The Gond of the Bastar region of India believe that if a woman’s husband has been killed by a wild animal – especially a tiger- it is necessary for her to marry a dog, before she can take another husband.

The Gond believe that the dead husband’s spirit now inhabits the tiger or another beast that killed him, and this spirit will then cause that same beast to kill any new man that the woman marries. To solve this problem the widow first must ceremonially marry a dog. The dead husband’s spirit can then satisfy his jealousy be killing the dog, and he will not threaten the life of the new human husband. Although, this seems like a good outcome for the woman, I am sure, somewhere deep down, the dogs know that a simple divorce would be a better end to their marriage instead of the one the Gond envision for them!

Category: Dog Stories

Some Awesome Facts about a Dog's Perfect Sense of Smell, Hearing and Sight…

July 12, 2010

What does it really mean when someone says, that “the nose knows best?”

Well, dogs naturally have a wonderful sense of smell. They have many more sensory ‘smelling’ cells than a man’s 5,000,000. A Dachshund, for example has 125,000,000; a Fox Terrier has 147,000,000 and a German Shepherd (often used as a ‘sniffer’ dog) has 220,000,000. Truffle hounds can find the fungus delicacy even when it’s a foot underground! However, A dog’s nose is not just used for smelling, but also to keep him cool. That’s why a dog pants. The longer the dog’s nose, the better his cooling system works.

What about a dog’s hearing?

Well, a dog can hear sounds 250 yards (230 meters) away that most people cannot hear beyond 25 yards (23 meters). The human ear can detect sound waves vibrating at frequencies up to 20,000 times a second. But dogs can hear sound waves that vibrate at frequencies of more than 30,000 times a second!

And their eyes?

Dogs cannot see as well as humans. This is a misconception. They see object just fine, but in a differnet way than humans do. A dog sees objects first by their movement, second by their brightness, and third by their shape. Dogs can see color but it is not as vivid a color scheme as we see. It is much like our vision at twilight. Dogs DO have better low-light vision than humans, however because of a special light-reflecting layer behind their retinas called the: tapetum lucidum (bright carpet in Latin).

a dog's perfect sense of smell....

 It seems the saying is right…..the nose does know best…..

Category: Dog Facts
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